Video by Neal Santos for Philadelphia City Paper
The phrase "dinner party" conjures up shiny, idealized images of couples laughingly emerging from the elevator into pre-war apartments decked in flickering candles, to doff furs and hats, basking in the sparkle of freshly polished stemware filled with champagne.
The reality of the dinner party, however, is less Bonfire of the Vanities and more How to Lose Friends and Alienate People. Food allergies and dietary requirements, keeping grudge holders from forking each other over cocktails and lack of space can cow even the most assured hostess.
The key to a dinner gathering with both style and substance lies in the planning. Most people have a nexus of different groups of friends; for balance and lively conversation, invite a few from each group and introduce them to each other. Ask guests to contribute wine to the dinner and send them around pouring for others. Make detailed lists and do everything you can ahead of time — then, as people start to arrive, delegate. Shy attendees will feel safer when their hands are occupied with some critical task, be it arranging hors d'oeuvres or choosing the playlist.
A dinner party for a large group need not be expensive, especially considering Philly's plethora of butchers, bakers and produce vendors. Buy vegetables the day before the event, in quantity, at the Italian or Reading Terminal Markets. Visit your local butcher for good deals on inexpensive cuts of meat and braise them all day to perfume the house. Employ the co-host technique: Join forces with a friend, choose the better-adapted house to stage the party in, and split costs, cooking and shopping. The result will be a livelier, more diverse group and half the work and expense.
My friend Kelly Anura and I have been co-hosting dinner parties for a few years, with surprising success. Her kitchen is spacious enough to accommodate 12, and she has the biggest Le Creuset cocotte I've ever seen, which makes creating a huge slow-cooked meal much simpler — even though it takes both of us to wrestle it out of the oven. We prepared a winter dinner, with a menu of roasted bone marrow with parsley salad, braised short ribs over cauliflower purée and sautéed greens with apple-cider gastrique for just about $11 per person. Friends brought copious amounts of wine, and the conversation veered from polite early in the evening to raucous post-meal. Even though the smoke alarms went off twice, the hearty meal was well-received — and the men even did the dishes.
Recipes for the $11-a-head Winter Dinner Party after the jump.
Roasted Bone Marrow with Parsley Salad & Croûtes
Adapted from Fergus Henderson's method at St. John (serves 12 as a hearty appetizer)
Go Get This:
3-4 lbs. beef or veal bones, cut into two-inch lengths (ask the butcher to do this on the saw)
One loaf crusty bread, sliced and toasted or grilled (that's croûtes)
2 bunches flat-leaf parsley, washed and picked off stems
2 shallots, sliced thinly
Small handful of capers
Juice of one lemon
1 and 1/2 tbsp. evoo (extra-virgin olive oil)
Now Do This:
If you choose, and have 24 hours to prepare, soak the cut marrow bones in several changes of very salty water. The salt draws out most of the blood and the roasted marrow will be a pretty cream color. If you don't have time to soak or just don't care so much, Fergus Henderson's widely-used recipe from his famous nose-to-tail London restaurant, St. John, does not call for any soaking. The blood will pool on top of the roasted marrow and the color will be browner, but it tastes just as good.
Preheat oven to 450 degrees F.
Toss the parsley with the sliced shallots and capers. Shake the lemon juice and olive oil in a jar until blended, add pinch of salt and pepper. Dress parsley salad to just coat leaves, when bones come out of the oven.
Place bones in a foil-linen ovenproof skillet or casserole. Roast for 15-20 minutes, until marrow is soft and wobbly -- don't let it go too long or all of the marrow will melt and drizzle out -- very sad, as Fergus says.
Remove bones from pan with tongs. Spread marrow on toasted crusty bread, sprinkle with a touch of salt and top with parsley salad. Mmmm, meat butter.
Cauliflower Purée with Mascarpone & Truffle Oil
(serves 12, as starch under main course)
Go Get This:
3 heads cauliflower
Half-gallon milk, whole or 2%
One 12-oz. container mascarpone cheese
3 tbsp. cold butter, cut into small cubes
Small splash truffle oil
Salt to taste
Now Do This:
Slice the florets off the cauliflower heads by cutting a cone shape from the large, central stem. Break cauliflower florets into one-inch pieces.
Place all cauliflower in large stockpot, pour in milk. Bring to a simmer over medium heat.
Cook cauliflower until tender but not mushy, about fifteen minutes.
With a slotted spoon, remove cauliflower to large food processor. Add just one ladelful of milk to food processor; more can be added as needed for blending.
Blend until cauliflower forms a silky purée; add milk as needed to keep processing smooth.
Salt to taste; add container of mascarpone cheese and cold cubed butter. Blend.
Taste and adjust seasoning; add small splash of truffle oil and blend again.
Taste and add more truffle oil if desired.
Reserve until ready to serve: heat in a large, shallow pan over low heat until warm all the way through.
Wine-braised Short Ribs with Leeks and Peppercorns
(serves 12 people as a main course)
Go Get This:
9 lbs. beef short ribs (regular-cut, not flanken-cut); most surface fat trimmed off
2 tbsp. bacon fat or butter
3 bunches leeks, sliced thin & thoroughly rinsed to remove sandy grit
1 large onion, diced
2 tbsp. peppercorns
1/2 tbsp. salt (or to taste)
1 bottle full-bodied, low-acid red wine (merlot, cabernet sauvignon, syrah)
Additional chicken stock and white wine to partially cover ribs
4-5 sprigs mixed fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, sage, bay leaf, chervil)
Now Do This:
Place a cast-iron 9-quart dutch oven over medium-high heat and sear ribs, two at a time, to develop a brown crust on all sides. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
Melt bacon fat or butter in dutch oven and sweat onions down, 3 minutes. Add leeks, season with salt, and sweat down for at least 15 minutes. Add peppercorns and fresh herbs and stir to combine. Turn the heat up to high.
Pour in half the bottle of red wine to deglaze: scrape all browned bits off bottom of dutch oven as they are loosened by the liquid.
Add short ribs back to dutch oven, stacking. Pour in rest of red wine, add white wine and stock until ribs are just covered. The top ribs may stick out a little; that is okay. Bring to a boil. Cover dutch oven.
Place entire dutch oven in preheated 350 degree oven. Every hour, rotate ribs so all get time fully submerged in cooking liquid. Skim fat off surface if necessary. Cook for at least four hours, until meat is tender to point of falling off the bone.
Serve each person one shortrib, over cauliflower purée and with some cooking liquid ladled over.
Skillet Greens with Cider Gastrique and Crispy Shallots
Kelly and I cribbed this recipe straight from Epicurious, which has millions of useful recipes and techniques. Check it out here. Gastrique is delicious and very fun to make. Just don't inhale the gas that is released when you pour the vinegar into the sugar mixture, it won't feel very nice on the old sinuses. Tastes great, though, and provides a sharp contrast and obligatory vegetables to an otherwise decadent meal.
The holy trifecta of hoagies in this town are produced at three shops in walking distance of one another in South Philly. The venerable Sarcone's also bakes the definitive sandwich bread, Primo Hoagies serves the west-of-Broad 'hoods, while the locals shun cheesesteaks for the fare at Chickie's Italian Deli. All three turn out classic Italian sandwiches stuffed with fresh-sliced meat and cheese dressed with olive oil. The least well-known of the three is Chickie's, at 10th and Federal, who despite winning a shelf full of awards for their sandwiches, remains in the long shadow cast by Sarcone's on Ninth St. Truly a shame, for Chickie's is the only vegetarian sandwich with the power to convince carnivores to forsake classic meat-laden combinations, in favor of something less piggy.
The Veggie Special is a layered creation of roasted peppers, broccoli rabe sautéed with garlic, baked eggplant and coarsely grated sharp provolone cheese stacked in a signature Sarcone's roll. The lily is gilded with a drizzle of olive oil, finishing the only veggie sandwich fit for the noble title "hoagie."
We make no claims to improving upon Chickie's epic sandwich in this restaurant remix. The only compelling reason to even attempt the duplication is Chickie's short hours. Ever Italian, they close at 3:30 and are surely enjoying their evening long before the rest of us are freed from work.
Learn how to make this flavor phantasmagoria at home, after the jump.
Chickie's Italian Deli, 1014 Federal St., 215-462-8040
Chickie's Award-Winning Veggie Special Hoagie
Yield: 2 large sandwiches, enough for 2 very hungry people
|Roasting peppers over a direct gas flame|
|All Photos l Mike Persico|
Go Get This:
1 red bell pepper
1 yellow bell pepper
4 ounces provolone cheese, coarsely grated
1 lb. broccoli rabe (one bunch)
2 cloves garlic, sliced thin
1 large purple eggplant, sliced lengthwise
2 long Sarcone's hoagie rolls
salt and pepper, to taste
hot red pepper flakes, to taste
Extra-virgin olive oil
Now Do This:
Roast the Peppers:
Place washed bell peppers over a medium-high flame directly on the burner of a gas stove or grill. Turn frequently with tongs until blackened all over and starting to collapse. This can also be done in a 450 degree oven.
Remove peppers to large paper grocery bag, and shake to loosen blackened skin. Peel away black skin. Do not rinse; rinsing will remove flavorful oils. Reserve.
Cook the broccoli rabe:
Cut an inch off each of the stem ends of broccoli rabe. Bring a large pot of salted water to a rolling boil, and immerse broccoli rabe for three minutes. Remove and drain; shock with cold water. Remove to large colander to dry.
Add three tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil to a large skillet and turn to coat. Heat over medium-high heat, then add sliced garlic when oil is hot and shimmering. Sauté garlic until lightly browned and softened, two minutes. Add drained broccoli rabe to pan and toss with tongs to coat in oil. Sauté for three minutes until tender. Reserve.
Broil the eggplant:
Preheat oven to broil. Arrange sliced eggplant on baking sheet and brush with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt. Broil at least six inches from the heat source for three minutes, then flip. Broil two more minutes, until eggplant is lightly browned and tender. Season with black pepper and hot red pepper flakes, to taste.
Assemble the sandwiches:
Slice the Sarcone's rolls lengthways, not all the way through. Layer the broiled eggplant, sauteed broccoli rabe with garlic, roasted peppers and coarsely ground provolone cheese in the roll. Dress with a sprinkle of extra-virgin olive oil, to taste.
Serve with a cold beer or cheap red wine, preferably outside on the porch on a nice day. Wait for sirens, kids shouting, SEPTA buses stuck on narrow streets with horns honking angrily, and you've got yourself a real South Philly sandwich experience happening.
Seems like no one wants to give anchovies any love, at least not in public. What do you want on your pizza? Anything but anchovies. Why don't you like anchovies? Eww, salty stinky little fish! Raise your hand if you can't stand anchovies but just adore the boquerones at Amada. Guess what they are? Some super-boutique, marinated, salty little fish, that's what.
The good news: the ever-helpful Brothers Di Bruno and Claudio King of Cheese sell neat little fillets of Spanish white anchovies; cleaned, marinated, and free of bones, guts, fishy aromas and anything else that might offend delicate sensibilities. Not that I'm sneering. I've been skeeved on foreign fish since I was old enough to say "Not anchovies!" on my pizza. Only in the last few years have anchovies and I made a nodding acquaintance. You can't write about food, and go to restaurants 300 times a year, without biting into a few things you secretly fear.
That's why gentle, marinated anchovy fillets (boquerones) are a friendly introduction to the world of small, oily and delicious for the fish fearful. True of both boquerones and the hot Spanish transfer student in your high school: an empty wallet gets you nowhere. At Di Bruno Bros., white anchovies are $49.99 a pound. You only need about ten dollars' worth to cook with to create a satisfying meal for four, or an appetizer for the gang.
Some boquerones-purist will howl over me putting the fancy fish on a pizza, but tough calamari. You eat what you like, and I'll profane my expensive ingredients any way I see fit.
|Proof dough in a warm place.|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Mitch Mandell's Pizza Dough is one of the easiest and most reliable dough recipes and pizza-making methods around — he includes instructions for making a basic yeast-raised dough in a food processor, stand mixer, bread machine or by hand. As Mitch says, dough making ain't brain surgery — but there are as many ways to screw it up as there are foodies cruising the Internet. Follow the directions, measure carefully, and make sure your dough has a warm place to rise. The pilot light of a gas-fired oven will keep the oven warm enough for the dough to come alive. Lacking that, I put my covered bowl of dough a few feet away from the space heater and it perked up nicely. Adaptation is the key to dinner.
After rolling out the dough, I dressed it with some good extra-virgin olive oil, ricotta cheese, sea salt, herbs and a small school of anchovies; then into a 500-degree oven on the pizza stone for just a few minutes. It tasted amazing, and the omega-3 rich, low-mercury little swimmers are ideal "brain food" — check out this Telegraph.uk article on eating oily fish.
The Mitch Mandell recipe yields a healthy quantity of dough, perhaps five personal-sized pizzas or two bigger pies. I took a shot at rolling the dough very thinly and pinching it around individual anchovy fillets. These got a sprinkle of sea salt and just a minute in the oven, and there you have some boquerone empanadas. Some were super oily and came open in the oven. They tasted lovely anyway, and should please many a fishy foodie as an amuse bouche.
|Duck confit topped with a poached egg, at|
LoBianco New American Cuisine in
|MICHAEL S. WIRTZ / Inquirer Staff Photographer|
Eggs are in, no yolk (rim shot!). Joyce Gemperlein, for the Inquirer, catalogs the many poached and fried eggs topping dishes around town.
The Lombardo pizza at Osteria features a yellow jewel in its sausage-and-cheese crown: a poached egg.
Chef Jim Burke at James adds richness to sole wrapped in thin-cut potatoes with a slow-poached egg.
At his restaurant LoBianco New American Cuisine in Collingswood, Nicholas LoBianco adds a runny-yolked poached egg to his duck confit hash.
Gemperlein adds in her favorite: the egg nestled in a hot bowl of Korean bibimbap, and offers instructions for getting fried eggs just right. We can't get enough of the fried-egg topped classic, burger à cheval, even if it's made of fowl.
The Pif method for poaching eggs:
In small saucepan, bring at least 2 cups of water and 3 tablespoons of white vinegar to a brisk simmer (not boiling). With a chopstick, spin the water into a fast whirlpool and crack in a single egg. Poach until whites have set, 4 to 5 minutes, and remove with a slotted spoon.
Eat with pretty much anything.
|Photo l Drew Lazor|
Groundhog and woodchuck recipes abound on the Internet. Most require you to clean your freshly shot carcass with a garden hose, remove the scent glands from the 'chucks armpits, and hang the critter for 3 days to reduce that gamey flavor. Since we live in the city without a hose, much less a shotgun, and don't care to find scent glands at all, we'll just stick with what we know: word play!
Nothing says Ground Hog Day like a visit to Fiorella's, the premier sausage emporium at 9th and Christian. This family-run business keeps it simple: they sell hot and sweet pork sausage, with or without fennel seeds, pork roasts, cheese sausage and bacon. Everything is made fresh on premises, and the prices are fair for such quality product. We hit up the pig mart to score some hot and sweet loose sausage and bacon, in order to attempt the travesty of nature that has swept the Web: BBQ Addicts' Bacon Explosion.
The basic premise is to weave a mat of bacon, five strips by five strips, and cover with a layer of loose sausage. Cooked crumbled bacon, sprinklings of dry rub and barbecue sauce are added, then the whole thing is rolled into a meat pinwheel. The creation is then smoked, or baked low and slow for at least two-and-a-half hours to yield a log of truly-heart stopping proportions.
|Bacon-weaving, for fun and possible death.|
|Don Ipock for The New York Times|
The New York Times picked up the Bacon Explosion as an example of both the power of bacon-love and internet marketing, lending it hitherto-unheard of mainstream credibility and professional photography. Meal Ticket tried their hand at bacon-weaving and rolling by request of Felicia's Dad, who despite high triglycerides was determined to experience the thing.
Dabbed with a little Sweet Baby Ray's honey barbecue sauce, one sweet and one hot Fiorella's meat fattie went into the oven. Three hours later, we dissected the thing and slapped the slices between split Pillsbury biscuits. The verdict? Frightening as it looks, it's good. The salty strips of exterior bacon baste the sausage and keep it moist, while the crumbled bacon creates texture variation. The sweet barbecue sauce added another layer of flavor that contrasted spectacularly with the spicy sausage.
The massive roll of Ground Hog made for a gruntingly good Superbowl Sunday dinner, as well as supplying the fun of weaving pork fat into a mat. With an alleged 5,000 calories and 500 grams of fat, I don't think we'll be eating it regularly. But it made the men happy. Carnivores, Eat This Immediately.
Check out the NY Times version of the recipe HERE.
Fiorella's Sausage, 817 Christian St., 215-922-0506
I abstained from meat for a week. Read why here.
My main revelation, however, has been that I should probably stop eating fatty meat with such unmitigated frequency. My self-prescribed fast solidified what I already knew — I love meat and I'm never going to stop eating it (sorry, Erik!) — but it's also helped me realize that there are plenty of meals I can occasionally make that are both healthy and easy to pull off.
As I mentioned yesterday, I decided to test out some recipes from Rich Landau and Kate Jacoby's Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine for dinner last night. I've have this tome in my cookbook pile awhile now, but never attempted to make anything out of it because I found it a little intimidating. But after a great meal there on Saturday, I built up the courage to flip through and pick out a few things. While some of their recipes are involved, the two I chose were extremely straightforward and produced some nice results. Learn how to make Seitan Beef, Barley & Ale Soup and Garlic Green Beans with Marcona Almonds & Vegan Tarragon Butter after the jump.
Seitan Beef, Barley & Ale Soup (from Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine)
Yields 6 to 10 servings as an appetizer or 4 to 6 servings as an entrée
Go Get This:
2 quarts vegetable stock
4 cups seitan, chopped
1 cup onion, diced
1 cup dark ale (I ended up using Flying Fish's Imperial Espresso Porter)
4 cloves garlic, crushed
2 teaspoons dried thyme
2 teaspoons dried sage
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon black pepper
2 teaspoons sugar
2 tablespoons margarine (I used butter)
1 cup dried wild mushroom blend
2 cups pre-cooked barley (prepare according to package)
Optional garnishes: Chopped chives for garnish (I used scallions); truffle oil; baguette slices
Then Do This:
1. In a large pot, simmer all ingredients, except the barley, for 15 minutes.
2. Stir in the barley and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
3. Top bowls with any or all of the optional garnishes.
Garlic Green Beans with Marcona Almonds & Vegan Tarragon Butter (from Horizons: New Vegan Cuisine)
Yields 4 to 6 servings
Go Get This:
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons garlic, chopped
1 pound French beans or green beans, ends trimmed
1 cup water
2 tablespoons margarine, softened (I used butter)
2 teaspoons fresh tarragon, chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup Spanish Marcona almonds, chopped or crushed
Then Do This:
1. In a large skillet, heat the oil on medium heat until it ripples.
2. Add the garlic and immediately put the string beans on top.
3. When the garlic starts to brown (after 1 to 2 minutes), add hte water and cover the skillet.
4. Steam the beams until the desired tenderness — some people like their green beans crunchy, while some prefer theirs a bit more tender.
5. When done to your liking, transfer the beans to a mixing bowl, and add the margarine (or butter), tarragon, salt and pepper.
6. Toss until the margarine (or butter) melts, and then garnish with the almonds.
Rum Bar Owner Adam Kanter prepares Admiral's Chicken at La Cucina located in the
|Photo Credit | Neal Santos|
We posted earlier in the week about the lunchtime cooking demos at La Cucina, located in the Reading Terminal Market, in honor of Restaurant Week. If you didn't get a chance to go, feel a part of the action by checking out this video feature.
Adam Kanter, owner of Rittenhouse's Rum Bar, concocted this recipe for Admiral's Chicken, a distant cousin of General Tso's. His recipe featured El Dorado rum. Kanter was feeding 25 hungry people that day. After the jump, check out a version I adapted to feed about about two.
Go Get This:
1-2 cups of jasmine rice.
1-2 cups of chicken stock or water.
1 red bell pepper, diced.
1 yellow onion, diced.
1 small can of chipotle pepper in adobo sauce.
1lb chicken breast, cut into bite-sized pieces
Salt and pepper to taste.
1 red onion, sliced
2-3 cloves of garlic, minced.
1/2 cup - 1 cup of El Dorado 5 year old rum.
1/4 worcestershire sauce
coriander and curry powder to taste.
salt and pepper.
1 oz. cilantro for garnish.
Then Do This:
Cook the rice in a covered pot in proper proportions with the chicken stock or water. Raise to a boil until rice is al dente. Add in diced red pepper, yellow onion, and chopped chipotle pepper. Stir to combine. Cook until rice is tender.
Season your chicken with salt and pepper. Coat the cut pieces of chicken in corn starch and set aside. Heat a large skillet with oil, and wait until light smoke appears from the pan. Add in chicken and cook until meat is a light yellow color. Set aside.
Coat the bottom of a second skillet with oil and heat. Add in the red onion and garlic and cook until soft. Pour your El Dorado rum away from the flame and into the pan and flambé by using a stick lighter, match, or the flame from your stove. Cook until the flame subsides and the alcohol is evaporated. Stir in worcestershire, a little adobo sauce leftover from the can, curry and coriander to taste. Once cooked, combine the sauce and the chicken until coated.
Plate your dish with a bed of rice. Top with chicken, ladle extra sauce over the top and garnish with cilantro:
|Photo | Neal Santos|
|Assembling the elements of a Ramos Gin Fizz, & an umbrella-adorned finished drink.|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
The Ramos Gin Fizz is the most refreshing cocktail you could sip on a hot day. But to get to that refreshing sip, you have to shake and shake and shake until fish-eggs of sweat pop out all over and your arms feel like noodles. Sort of defeats the purpose of that chilled cocktail, which is why we're increasing our heart rate in the depths of January to create the perfect Ramos Gin Fizz.
The concoction was invented by Henry C. Ramos in his bar at Meyer's Restaurant, New Orleans, in 1888. Raw egg whites lend the drink its creamy froth; orange-flower water and the botanicals in gin provide nuanced flavors. The drink is constructed in a standard tin and given a long "dry shake" (sans ice) to emulsify the egg whites that provide the signature foam — Ramos' original recipe calls for shaking up to 12 minutes. The drink proved so popular in pre-Prohibition New Orleans that bars employed lines of juvenile "shaker boys," all working the tins like mad to keep up with demand.
With nary an underage shaker boy in sight, you'll be feeling the burn until the mixture starts to feel "ropy," which sounds gross but is quite perceptible after you have shaken the drink for a few minutes. This drink does not allow cut corners; make one cocktail at a time and use jiggers to keep the proportions correct. Orange-flower water can be acquired at Whole Foods or Di Bruno Bros. We used organic, free-range eggs for the drink and no one died; if you are nervous about consuming raw eggs, you probably don't have the stomach for the drink anyway.
This cocktail was the contribution of the inestimable Janina Larenas, who turned the classic drink recipe into a delectable gelato at Capogiro just yesterday. What can't that woman do with eggs and a little bit of elbow-grease?
|Ramos Gin Fizz, Up|
|Photo l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Ramos Gin Fizz
2 oz. gin
1 oz. simple syrup
1/2 oz. lemon juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1 oz. heavy cream
1 large egg white
3-4 drops orange flower water
1 oz. chilled club soda
Combine all ingredients except ice and club soda in a shaker. Shake for at least 2 minutes and up to 12, until the egg whites have emulsified and the mixture feels "ropy." Don't overdo it on orange flower water — it is very potent and overuse can make the drink taste like grandma's perfume.
Add ice to shaker, and shake again for another minute until chilled.
Strain into highball glass, add club soda. Serve.
|Photo l Michael Persico|
The unsung hero of a really satisfying burger is something far less dramatic than than a fiery, 800-degree grill or the finest ground sirloin in all the land. It's something that has been demonized since the early '80s, when scrupulous dieters began to avoid it at all costs, their bleak existence framed by boneless, skinless chicken breasts and steamed broccoli.
The even distribution of fat throughout a burger creates the velvety texture and chew of the best versions of the sandwich, and keeps the meat moist even as it is subjected to the blistering heat of the grill or cast-iron pan. Though beef burgers occupy the king's position at the top of the sandwich hierarchy, a cow burger, even not such a large one, is a huge, digestion-challenging meal. Eat a burger loaded with cheese, bacon, long hots and some kind of flavored mayonnaise and the only place you're headed is to the couch to groan off your lunch. Substitute turkey, salmon or chicken between the buns and the burger becomes something that won't kill you, but provide enough energy for you to slam through your day with a full, not crammed, stomach.
Turkey burgers are easy to make and deliver a satisfying meal, provided you remember the fat rule. Since turkey is by nature very lean — either 99 or 93 percent lean, in most cases — you need to add fat back to the ground meat to ensure a juicy turnout. Sauté diced red onion in a tablespoon of bacon fat. When the softened, fat-coated pieces of onion are mixed with the turkey meat, they will add moisture and flavor throughout the lean burger. Butter performs a similar function.
The fun of turkey burgers is the meat is like a blank slate, flavor-wise. You can add anything you like to it and it will accept the flavors gladly. Use the caramelized onions as a base, and develop from there. Fresh herbs, especially parsley, cilantro, chervil or thyme can go into the mix; hot sauce, soy sauce, tamari and mustard can all lend a spicy kick. Do avoid very sugary sauces, like barbecue, which will burn on the surface of the burger and could make the whole patty taste burnt.
Since we're so well-behaved, eating turkey burgers and all, why not throw a fried egg on top of the thing to make it a burger à cheval? You've earned it.
Recipe for Turkey Burger à Cheval with Sriracha Mayonnaise after the jump.
Turkey Burger à Cheval with Sriracha Mayonnaise
Makes 4 burgers
Go Get This:
24 ounces ground turkey meat
4 buns of your choice
4 romaine lettuce leaves
1 tablespoon bacon fat or butter
One medium onion, diced small
Half bunch flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Heaping teaspoon Dijon mustard
4 eggs, fried and sunny-side up
Sriracha sauce, to taste
Mayonnaise, to taste
Now Do This:
In a small sauté pan, melt the bacon fat or butter over medium heat. When melted, add the diced onion. Cook down gently until lightly browned and soft. Remove from heat and set aside.
In a large bowl, combine ground turkey, cooked onion, parsley, mustard, dashes of salt and pepper, and a squeeze of sriracha. Mix thoroughly with hands. Shape into four equal-sized balls, and flatten to make patties.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
Heat a large cast-iron (or oven-safe) pan over medium-high heat. Add a splash of high-temp oil, like peanut or canola, just to coat the bottom with a thin layer. When oil is hot and shimmering, place burgers in pan.
Cook for at least five minutes to create a brown crust on the turkey burgers. Flip over and allow to cook on that side for three minutes, then place pan in oven. Cook in oven for at least six more minutes. Turkey burgers are done when there is no pink left inside.
While burgers are in oven, combine mayonnaise with sriracha to taste in a small bowl. Set aside.
Fry the four eggs, sunny-side up, just when you take the burgers out of the oven.
Spread sriracha mayo on both sides of bun, add romaine lettuce leaf, place turkey burger on top of lettuce and top with a fried egg. Add a salad and serve.
|Cut-off scraps = free flavor|
|Photos l Felicia D'Ambrosio|
Remember Janina? That thrify vegetarian cook saves her vegetable scraps in a jar and makes stock once a week. Her theory: vegetable stock is free and tastes better than water. Which makes everything taste better. For a detailed, ridiculously useful method on stock-making, including what vegetables to go wild with, and which to use sparingly, take a peek at Janina's stock article at IsGreaterThan.net.
|One piece of beet lent a lovely hue. |
- barstool scientist
- Brew Revue
- Chef Salad
- Dirty Dishes
- Don't Front
- Eat This Immediately
- Field Trip
- Food and Art
- Food and Holidays
- Food and Movies
- Food and Music
- Food and Politics
- Food and Sports
- Food and Web
- Food Blogs
- Food Books
- Food Events
- Food News
- Food TV
- Happy Hour Hopper
- In Print
- Meal Ticket
- Menu Time
- Not So Quickfire
- Notes from the Weekend
- On Wheels
- Patio Drinking
- Philly Beer Week 2010
- Private Chef POV
- Product Placement
- Snack Time
- Stiff Drank
- Ticket Stubs
- Top Chef
- Weekly Candy
- Weird Regional Foods
- We're Here to Help
- Where'd We Eat?
- Drew Lazor's Ill-Advised Rant Factory
- Ill-Advised Ranting
- The Week Without Meat
- Philly Beer Week 2009
- Real Big
- Where'd I Eat Last Night?
- Top Chef Masters
- The Good Word
- Next Iron Chef
- Arterial Terrorism
- Food and Radio